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Police Forensics Team Salvage Blind Authors' Inkless Novel Pages

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the show-your-work dept.

News 100

Blind author Trish Vickers wrote 26 pages of her novel's first chapter when her son noticed she was writing without ink. Her manuscript was saved however after they took it to the Dorset Police department. A forensic team there worked on it in their spare time, and after 5 months they were able to recover the lost pages. Vickers said: “I think they used a combination of various lights at different angles to see if they could get the impression made by my pen. I am so happy, pleased and grateful. It was really nice of them and I want to thank them for helping me out.”

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A Blind Eye... (5, Funny)

vAltyR (1783466) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673269)

Nice to see the police didn't turn a blind eye to a citizen in need.

Re:A Blind Eye... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673345)

The way it turned out was probably blind luck.

Now. Transpose this story to the US (1, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39675469)

Let's say to an equivalently bucolic setting, like Wisconsin outside Madison, or Dubuque Iowa.

One reason that the UK is still superior to the US, despite being blighted by The City, and laws made by silk breeches, and omnipresent camera vision.

In America, this story would have ended in a tasering, or pepper-spray: like that poor fellow who's MediLert malfunctioned.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/nyregion/fatal-shooting-of-ex-marine-by-white-plains-police-raises-questions.html?_r=2 [nytimes.com]

Re:Now. Transpose this story to the US (2)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678431)

Yeah, except they didn't recover the text from the paper directly, but rather, they just went through the video records they had of her and figured out what she wrote based on that.

Re:Now. Transpose this story to the US (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39683969)

And then used an "entirely voluntary" d-notice [wikipedia.org] to ensure that the newspaper's reported the CSI story as part of their campaign to show that forensic science services are just fine. To be honest, when you look at the stupidities of the UK system there's no logical way that the people in the UK can be more free than people living in the US, yet they are.

Re:Now. Transpose this story to the US (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685473)

Because the British people suspect that most everything is a lie. They are more cynical, and prone to morose sarcasm as a result - but it's a form of real humor, which helps cope in seeing things as they are.

Americans are slaves to what might be. They'll buy any bright shiny lie that tells them what they want about themselves, and promises them freedom from anxiety. They seem drenched in "sarcastic irony", but it's mere filppancy: a form of positioning that comes from underlying insecurity.

It would be hard to imaging a 1950's-style "Red Scare" in the UK. The entire proposition for this rests entirely in constructions of the imagination. Americans are richer in imagination, and very much poorer in perspective.

Just a Lazy Eye... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39674681)

F* da police!

Re:A Blind Eye... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39682421)

Is this really a story worth Slashdots time? Some idiot did not notice see was writing without ink? I did not read to whole story but if she is blind and can write she should get a award for that alone.

Re:A Blind Eye... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39682703)

Forgive me for assuming you have normal eyesight when I point out you probably meant "Slashdot's" instead of "Slashdots", and "she" rather than "see", and "the" instead of "to". We'll say nothing of your preference for "a" over "an" preceeding a word beginning with a vowel, and focus on wondering instead how someone who can't see is supposed to notice that they have run out of ink.

I think it's wonderful that the author's efforts were able to be redeemed by the services of the constabulary.

Warning: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673281)

Let this be a warning of why not to write with any type of implement that exerts pressure on the writing surface.

Imagine if Hitler, Stalin or Mau had access to this technology (Slashdotters will probably disagree about the Mau part as they love to prop up China, but we can agree to disagree).

Re:Warning: (1)

Zcar (756484) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673531)

Who's "Mau"? Are you talking about the Mau-Mau Rebellion in Kenya? Not sure what China has to do with that, though, or why they'd be mentioned in connection with Hitler and Stalin.

Re:Warning: (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39674253)

He meant Mao, but his keyboard ran out of ink before it finished the top of the "o"

Re:Warning: (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39675061)

It's a reference to Chairman Mao Tse Zedong [wikipedia.org] , author of the "Little Red Book", google it.

Chinese people are fine; I hate their Maotai.

Re:Warning: (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39675679)

Wh. Oo. Sh.

Re:Warning: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673819)

wtf? did you really Godwin this in under 5 minutes?

oh crap! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673287)

I had first comment, and it was oh-so-witty...
alas, i had no keyboard! :(

Are you sure this was in Dorset? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678051)

Not in Norfolk? Market Shipborough, [wikipedia.org] perhaps?

Used a technique called "rubbing it with a pencil" (4, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673305)

We're not at liberty to discuss the details of this amazing new forensic technique at this time. But rest assured that the $5 million grant you gave us last year to develop it did not go to waste--and most certainly was *not* just spent on booze, cool new squad cars, and trips to Hawaii.

Fuck off (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673477)

...subject says it all.

And this is in the UK, dumbass, not the US.

Re:Fuck off (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673533)

...subject says it all.

And this is in the UK, dumbass, not the US.

Oh good! So people in the UK don't drink booze, want cool new squad cars and they don't go to Hawaii?

Re:Fuck off (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673971)

...subject says it all.

And this is in the UK, dumbass, not the US.

Oh good! So people in the UK don't drink booze, want cool new squad cars and they don't go to Hawaii?

Sure they do, but they spend pounds rather than dollars. I'd use the currency symbols if /. didn't have its webserver claim to support utf-8 even though it doesn't (and it mangles the pound currency symbol).

Re:Fuck off (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39674277)

Not in Hawaii they don't.

Pounding the Dollar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39674565)

The British police officers would still be spending their Pounds Sterling currency to buy US Dollars.

Re:Pounding the Dollar (1)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39676957)

Probably not. Life is dangerous enough without getting shot in the land of the BCS.

Re:Fuck off (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 2 years ago | (#39682627)

I'm pretty sure it doesn't mangle £

(Of course, it could still do so in order to piss me off).

Re:Fuck off (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685097)

It always seems to for me, at least in Firefox 11 on Windows XP at work. Lets try it on Google Chrome on Windows 7. Keeping in mind that I'm from the U.S. and don't have a key for it on my keyboard:

Typing alt-156: £
Pasting it from other websites: £
Pasting it from Windows Character Map: £

Re:Fuck off (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 2 years ago | (#39692205)

Slashdot's a tech site. Try the HTML entity...

£ © ® €

It's surprising just how many characters work fine if you insert them the correct way...

Re:Fuck off (2)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700783)

The D2 posting system has been "fixed": it automatically replaces permitted characters with the corresponding HTML entities. It strips out any other characters and non-allowed HTML entities. Hence, "fixed"... it doesn't really work, it just works some of the time.

I.e. to enter £...
    Alt-156 (£) works in D2 only
    £ works in either D1 or D2
    £ is stripped out in both D1 and D2; Slashdot doesn't recognize it and strips it out of your post.

That's probably enough of an explanation, but if you care to know the why and how...

The D1 posting system parses your post as 8-bit text. It is not actually 8-bit text; it is actually UTF-8 [wikipedia.org] encoded. Since UTF-8 encodes characters with code points U+0000-U+007F in a single byte, it is backward-compatible for this range of characters; characters above U+007F require multiple bytes to encode in UTF-8, which is why Slashdot ends up garbling them. The D1 system doesn't do any conversion from UTF-8 to 8-bit.

Try it: paste £ into Notepad and save as UTF-8, then open the file a hex editor. The file will be 5 bytes: the byte-order mark [wikipedia.org] (a zero-width non-breaking space, code point U+FEFF) encoded in UTF-8 (EF BB BF*), followed by the pound character (163, U+00A3) encoded in UTF-8 (C2 A3** - which, as 8-bit text, is the characters £ - which is what you ended up with in your post; it appears that you used the D1 system to post the comment).

Note that the £ character is actually code point 163, not 156. Typing Alt-156 produces the pound symbol as a throwback to the DOS code page 437 [wikipedia.org] , which contained the £ character at position 156. In Unicode, the £ symbol is code point 163 and can be typed Alt-0163.

* 0xFEFF, 11111110 11111111, mapped into the 24-bit mask 1110xxxx 10xxxxxx 10xxxxxx = 11101111 10111011 10111111 (EF BB BF)
** 0xA3, 10100011, mapped into 110xxxxx 10xxxxxx = 11000010 10100011 (C2 A3)

Re:Fuck off (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39674091)

Lighten up, Francis.

Re:Used a technique called "rubbing it with a penc (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673731)

the problems with that are

1 you end up with a page with graphite all over it
2 what helps with 2nd/3rd/Nth impressions
3 they most likely used this to train newbies
4 do you think that this was considered before handing the pages to the police??

Re:Used a technique called "rubbing it with a penc (1)

Vreejack (68778) | more than 2 years ago | (#39674189)

What really surprises me is that anyone thought it was worth getting in a twist about. Twenty-six pages of metrically tortuous poetry would concern me, but of a novel? If you can't recover your first chapter from memory--while making it even better the second time--then you aren't writing anything anyone would want to read.

Curious fact: I used to program this way, too, back in the day of tape drives.

Re:Used a technique called "rubbing it with a penc (3, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39674301)

Not to mention how many times she could have revised it in the 5 months it took to recover. A 26 page paper was a lazy week (or mildly stressful weekend) in college.

Re:Used a technique called "rubbing it with a penc (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39674891)

Spoken like someone who isn't a writer. I lost the first half of a story I wrote to the evils of hard drive failure, and while I had my plot notes, it never came out as good as the first time.

Re:Used a technique called "rubbing it with a penc (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39675181)

"Not at Liberty?" You can not tell who pays you what you did with the money? What could possibly go wrong? Was it spent on Overtime? To "prevent chaos?"

Honest curiosity (5, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673321)

Sorry for the ignorance, but is it common for blind people to write at length using pen and paper? It strikes me as odd that someone would use a medium which they would not themselves be able to review later (excepting cases where review isn't necessary, such as for a short correspondence or the like). I'd have thought that a computer with a screen reader would be the preferred medium.

Re:Honest curiosity (3, Interesting)

Kadagan AU (638260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673445)

My sister is blind, and has been for her whole life. She never writes by hand, and even if she writes her name the letters tend to be imperfect and disconnected. No one can fault her for it, but it's a challenge to maintain your place on the page. And she's not even completely blind, she has a very small amount of vision in one eye (she can mostly just see light and darkness).

If this woman is completely blind, I wouldn't expect too much detailed writing per page.. I can't imagine my sister getting more than a paragraph or so on a page if she were to try.

Re:Honest curiosity (5, Informative)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673509)

She is 59 - so she grew up without computer knowledge - and she can't type. Learning computer skills at 59 while blind is probably a challenge.

If you RTFA there's a picture of her writing setup - physical guide lines on the paper - so her method has been thought out, it isn't just random scribbles.

Re:Honest curiosity (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673865)

Hi, old person here. It's still strange She was writing by hand. Long before we had computers to do our writing, we still used keyboards. I know you kids might not be that familiar with them, but we called them 'typewriters'. They have braille versions of them, so a blind person could type pages they could proofread themselves years and years ago.

Re:Honest curiosity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39675311)

Except according to the TFA she only lost her sight 7 years ago, due to diabetes. It is highly possible that she has little to no typing experience, especially as the article states she used to run a gift shop. It's also possible she is not completely literate in braille.

Re:Honest curiosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39675457)

Hi, aspiring novelist here. Writing fiction is hard. Writers do what works for them. It's not strange at all for her to prefer pen and paper to a braille typewriter. Writing is about hard work and inspiration. The inspiration an be tricky. Forcing yourself to use a typewriter instead of pen and paper can kill that inspiration. It's temperamental. If pen and paper works for her, there is no reason for her to change. So what if she is blind? She obviously has some method to read it or have it typed up for her.

Re:Honest curiosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39676747)

Typewriters run out of ribbon, so it's still possible to have the same issue. If the typewriter keyboarding knowledge transferred to PC keyboarding, the author could get along well.

Re:Honest curiosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39679069)

Braille typewriters don't have a ribbon to worry about. They put the dimples in the paper for a blind person to touch/read.

Re:Honest curiosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39700831)

Normal typewriter, not Braille typewriter.

You need to know Braille to use most Braille typewriters, BTW. They have a key for each dimple. Pressing the keys simultaneously puts the corresponding dots into the paper; when the keys are released, the carriage automatically advances. There is also a Space key to advance the carriage without putting any dimples in that cell.

So if a blind person didn't know Braille, they'd probably be typing on a regular typewriter, and it's possible that they could run out of ink.

Re:Honest curiosity (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679545)

Typewriters run out of ribbon...

Not a braille typewriter (although it could still run out of paper).

Re:Honest curiosity (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679695)

Disregarding the fact that she only recently became blind, they DID have brail typeriters that blind people could read themselves. When you consider that typewriters are impact devices, brail is actually a fairly simple thing to implement.

Re:Honest curiosity (1)

revclyde (539144) | more than 2 years ago | (#39684367)

People who lose their sight later in life do not always learn to read braille.

Re:Honest curiosity (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#39691431)

Disregarding the fact that she only recently became blind

Note the first line of my comment.

Re:Honest curiosity (2)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679399)

Not to mention we've had these things called "dictation machines" for over a century now.

Re:Honest curiosity (5, Informative)

rHBa (976986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673485)

Diabetes sufferer Ms Vickers, 59, lost her sight seven years ago and turned to the world of her imagination for solace.

With a love of English poetry ditties were scribbed to entertain her mother over the years but it is only now she is embarking on her first novel.

However, she doesn’t type or use a computer but has a system of elastic bands that guide her to keep lines.

It appears she lost her eyesight later in life and (I'm assuming) had never learned to type before, she might find it easier to write with a pen/paper.

Re:Honest curiosity (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673699)

Diabetes sufferer Ms Vickers, 59, lost her sight seven years ago and turned to the world of her imagination for solace. With a love of English poetry ditties were scribbed to entertain her mother over the years but it is only now she is embarking on her first novel. However, she doesn’t type or use a computer but has a system of elastic bands that guide her to keep lines.

It appears she lost her eyesight later in life and (I'm assuming) had never learned to type before, she might find it easier to write with a pen/paper.

Still seems odd. Typing existed long before PCs. My mother is around her age and learned in high school on a typewriter.... hell I learned on a typewriter! It was just another class in public school that nearly everyone took. Maybe it's a US thing to learn to type?

And she lost her eyesight later in life? I've tried closing my eyes and writing a sentence, it's almost impossible to read, and the characters tend to get larger as I go.

Also you would think losing her eyesight would encourage her to learn to type since you're not suppose to be looking at the keys while you type anyway and, being blind, she can't exactly leave the house as easily as most, so being able to go online and communicate with the world would probably help her a lot.

Glad the police could help, but with everything we have now days it just seems strange this would be a problem in a first world country in 2012.

Re:Honest curiosity (1)

snadrus (930168) | more than 2 years ago | (#39674113)

Agreed! I'm in my 20s and still learned most of my speed typing from a high school typewriter. And I live in one of the big IT centers of the world.

Re:Honest curiosity (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39676289)

I laseto slealren to type in highk scohkol and am stilklk quite proficetetnt.

Re:Honest curiosity (2)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39674147)

Still seems odd. Typing existed long before PCs. My mother is around her age and learned in high school on a typewriter.... hell I learned on a typewriter! It was just another class in public school that nearly everyone took. Maybe it's a US thing to learn to type?

I grew up in the UK. I am not aware of any typing classes in schools when this lady would have been in school. At that time, I think there were specialist training centers (not public schools) that taught typing skills.

Also, it's not so simple as just learning to type. The most common screen reader (JAWS) is very expensive and horrible to use. Other devices (such as Braillenotes) are also very expensive, and braille is quite complex. Yes, if you used the software or devices to do a job, you would buy them, but this lady doesn't appear to work.

Re:Honest curiosity (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 2 years ago | (#39681099)

Yes, yes. I guess somone in the U.K. would never be able to type in Braille unless they spend ungodly amounts of money for all the complex new high-tech gizmos.

Oh wait, they've been doing it for about a hundred years now...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93_u33XqtUo [youtube.com]

Re:Honest curiosity (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 2 years ago | (#39674183)

And she lost her eyesight later in life? I've tried closing my eyes and writing a sentence, it's almost impossible to read, and the characters tend to get larger as I go.

I just tried it. My biggest problem was the spacing between words, followed by the fact that I apparently started writing at an angle after the first word, so it doesn't follow the line on my paper.

Re:Honest curiosity (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39675251)

we had typewriter writing in school, on grades 7-9. i'm 30, we did it on computers. it was sooo easy to get 10/10 on every test. the teacher didn't appreciate our doom sessions. in retrospect it was pretty useless after the first month of learning "proper" 10 finger typing - but alternative subjects weren't too good, I might have taken home ed(cooking) if the damn teacher in that subject wasn't such a demotivator queen(she'd freak out if meatballs had recognizable pieces of onion or if you took out the meak, old, chili-powder - we had it mandatory for a year).

though if I wrote by hand I might need a csi team to recover the text even if I had my eyes open.

still, I must agree that if she couldn't write the first chapter again, remember what was essential in it.. I'm not too interested in that novel, even if her excuse was being high on drugs when she wrote it.

Re:Honest curiosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39676991)

Someone said that she had a tactile line on which to write - I don't know if that means embossed lines (or lines of dots) on the paper, or just writing with a ruler laid on the page to keep it straight. Perhaps embossed marks (Braille dots) spaced down the page to give her a reference for each line. It would also depend heavily on having very good handwriting. My own is only fair, but I tried it first without and then with a ruler. Both were quite readable, without the spacing being too erratic. The worst was trying to compel my hand to do the cursive "zy"... "lazy" ended up looking more like "laryye".

Re:Honest curiosity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673513)

If you RTFA, you'd see that she only went blind 7 years ago and she doesn't know how to use a computer, so she devised a system using rubber bands to be able to continue to write by hand. It's not ideal, and she acknowledges that, but she has pretty limited options. In general, no, it is not at all common for blind people to write by hand, and most people born blind never learn to write by hand since doing so is borderline impossible.

Re:Honest curiosity (2)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673535)

For many creative people, a physical connection with the medium is essential to their creativity. I can't explain it, but I've felt the same way before -- the designs which began as rough sketches and refined on paper always turn out to be more thoughtful than those that begin in CAD. Maybe it's because there's no quick way to delete something on a whim, and those things that you thought were mistakes a moment ago come back to inspire you later on.

Good job Dorset PD (4, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673331)

That was truly an upstanding thing to do.

Wait a tick (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673333)

Why didn't they just run the broad side of a graphite pencil up and down it? What on earth were they doing that it took them five months, when anyone else could have had it done in a day?

Re:Wait a tick (5, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673465)

Depending on the type of pen and the pressure used, that method may not be sensitive enough for good reconstruction of the data. However, since it's a destructive technique, if you try it first and it fails, you've ruined your ability to try any other techniques.

Re:Wait a tick (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673669)

It works in a pinch but it is not proper forensics practice because it damages the evidence and only brings to the surface the most defined of indentations. The more refined approach is graphite dust(like for lubricating door locks) and a vibratory table.

Re:Wait a tick (0)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39676579)

The more refined approach is graphite dust(like for lubricating door locks) and a vibratory table.

The second advantage to this method is that it can be rented out after-hours. The downside is the huge drycleaning bill trying to get powdered graphite out of expensive Victoria's Secret undies, and the evidence tends to stick to the table.

I wrote this joke using pen and paper while holding my eyes shut. I hope you can read it. If not, I'll ask the local police to recover it for you. I know you'd enjoy it.

Smarty-Not-Pants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39674657)

It's ironic how you imagine you're so smart that you "solved" the problem in a minute, while you're not smart enough to realize that they must have had the same understanding or better.

Just maybe there was a problem with your approach, nevermind that they did this in their spare time.

Re:Smarty-Not-Pants (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679511)

Nice ASS-umption you make there.

There are dozens of methods they could have used, none of which would have taken a MONTH, even working on it thirty minutes a day.

This is likely a case of every problem looking like a nail to a hammer, where they had some advanced imaging software that they used, rather than using simple techniques.

Good Practice (5, Insightful)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673335)

Out of all the things the cops could do with their spare time (and I assume a small amount of public resources), I'd say that I fully agree with this one. They helped somebody out, got to practice obviously useful forensics skills, and they were practical actual science. No one told them what the words on the pages were supposed to say, they had to figure them out (with help from the author, perhaps)

Re:Good Practice (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39676377)

Yeah, I really wish police around the world were more about the whole "helping people" thing and less about "don't do anything that doesn't generate revenue for the local government". Glad to hear about stuff like this.

Re:Good Practice (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39676633)

They helped somebody out, got to practice obviously useful forensics skills,

Yep. The next time someone writes a 26 page confession or bomb threat using a pen with no ink, Dorset constabulary will be all ready to go!

Re:Good Practice (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39677347)

Or writes their bomb threat on a pad of paper, tears the top sheet off, and mails it. Or mails in a ransom note. Etc.

Modern palimpsest (0)

Vlaix (2567607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673337)

The story is nice, but it doesn't get close to the Novgorod Codex ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novgorod_Codex [wikipedia.org] ) or even the Herculaneum papyri ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herculaneum_papyri [wikipedia.org] ) .

Re:Modern palimpsest (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673499)

X-ray fluorescence [cornell.edu] spectroscopy is a lot more fun.

First page of the novel (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673389)

Nudedi tecuda giruler debi dir pa felo rum. Hat fohete dano nitimel hen ti tafadis ranaman. Telie itep gacir madacu inominov cotarit tebisi idegu paset ru. Fiegipec hir sarehew xemita ra narop. Nadine tafa esisilo len eyip roco rufogec. Tanayi ricu rileri semec. Isira cetati retiv wi catec arar edadire cemih tetosir nim. Lesipi femap her aricet beter. Rey otinaras ruto sohat pol desa siwal neyatoc go funi. Non nixot aleyed nita. Gubalol leso seliraw wolelef hes otatufe? Wicedis saheco tiqa nariseg eni ro. Iro pep rana minili; nat depe gesiy edomigat. Nu ha alon sutot sociya aboreca somob gag. Oharekag masiede etorinur lu rapiebe hup fopup ahemunef rena rino. Mulewab ton iyecapi inetud irucato rapas? Fav agew piyieno rec def asor.

Re:First page of the novel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39675935)

what? since this was rated as funny, i assume there's something to this, however, it's either over my head or i just haven't come across whatever is being referenced.

Re:First page of the novel (3, Funny)

Kozz (7764) | more than 2 years ago | (#39676419)

It's clearly a slashdot reference. Just ask Google [google.com] !

Re:First page of the novel (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | more than 2 years ago | (#39677399)

Did you mean: Nvidia Cuda

Ha! Now we're getting somewhere! Maybe she was writing a video game script!

Old Mac Computer (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39676909)

On an old Mac computer, the home keys were not marked on 'F' and 'J', but on some other keys. I typed several paragraphs of a report for class before my team members asked me what I was doing. They said, "You usually seem to know what you are doing so we let you go for a while, but that doesn't make any sense."

The output looked very much like what the parent is showing.

26 pages and 5 months (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673527)

26 pages in typical A4/Lettersize and 5 months sounds like something the novelist could have rewritten in few weeks with very little assistance (only knowing where the missing part begins).

i hope the taxpayers... (3, Funny)

inerlogic (695302) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673597)

.....bought her a pack of fucking pencils.....

Re:i hope the taxpayers... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39674111)

A forensic team there worked on it in their spare time

As a taxpayer, I'd be happy that the forensic team used their spare time (which, by definition, is when they are not actively forensicizing(tm) an active case) to hone their skills while doing something philanthropic.

Re:i hope the taxpayers... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39676093)

You're probably not an ignorant conservative lashing out at any imagined impropriety, unlike the person you replied to.

A lot of Americans are full-on bonkers, and will become angry over false-outrages, because that's what they've been trained to be. We have a whole radio/tv/web wingnut-o-sphere that only exists to keep ignorant people angry, so they don't question the bizarre beliefs they've been fed and cure their ignorance.

90% of the idiocy online flows from these people.

Re:i hope the taxpayers... (1)

darth dickinson (169021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39677113)

Or, it could be that since the problem arose because her pen ran out of ink, it might be nice to give her a writing device that gives some sort of tactile feedback that it is not capable of writing.

But no, it's much more fun and insightful to bash Americans.

Simple to anyone who's watched any dime store (5, Funny)

spads (1095039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673617)

detective shows. You just shade over it with a pencil, revealing the indentations. Of course, first you make a xerox copy in case you corrupt the original.

Re:Simple to anyone who's watched any dime store (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673725)

detective shows. You just shade over it with a pencil, revealing the indentations. Of course, first you make a xerox copy in case you corrupt the original.

My kingdom for a mod point!

Re:Simple todo anyone who's watched any dime store (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39673771)

does the photocopy contain the indentations ? :)

Re:Simple todo anyone who's watched any dime store (1)

AdeBaumann (126557) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673893)

Nope. But it goes whoosh.

Re:Simple todo anyone who's watched any dime store (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 2 years ago | (#39673915)

Well, duh! Obviously they must have been using the Xerox CSI model copier, or maybe the new Xerox NCIS with the built in network support.

Re:Simple todo anyone who's watched any dime store (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39676193)

Be sure to press the "enhance" button on the copier. It will make it much clearer.

Re:Simple todo anyone who's watched any dime store (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39674155)

Make a 3-d copy. Indentations and all.

Re:Simple to anyone who's watched any dime store (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39675669)

In detective shows, it's usually where you've pulled up the piece of paper under the pad that was actually written on.

This would actually cause a problem in this scenario. If she had her pages stacked a bit when writing, then you'd have indentations from both the current page (sans ink) and the previous page(s).

5 months/26 pages?? (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39674471)

They'd better find a way to work faster or they'll never be able to keep up with her writing the rest of her novel.

Code reuse (1)

eminencja (1368047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39675001)

Apparently it's only programmers that say -- this sucks, I need to re-write it from scratch.

I wonder if they could ... (1)

smartin (942) | more than 2 years ago | (#39675235)

Recover all the photos that my Mom took with a camera that had no film.

But the Slashdot editors... (4, Funny)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 2 years ago | (#39675395)

...couldn't even salvage the misplaced apostrophe. Maybe we can get Dorset Police to edit Slashdot in their spare time, since they like helping the blind?

Re:But the Slashdot editors... (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679865)

She's blind, not dumb.

Forensics Team?? (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 2 years ago | (#39675531)

I think it's a pretty big leap from a "forensics team" to "officers in the department worked in their spare time, during breaks to try and crack the puzzle". A properly trained questioned documents examiner would find this sort of task trivial. The most common and best approach is with an ESDA [wikipedia.org] , which can reveal indented writing several pages deep. Lacking that the examiner would use oblique lighting and digital photography but again it should only take a very limited amount of time to recover the writing with the proper equipment.

I applaud their efforts and I'm glad they recovered the author's work. I just bristle a bit at this being presented as a professional forensic examination. It wasn't. It was something to do besides the crossword.

Zen koan (1)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 2 years ago | (#39676273)

In early times in Japan, bamboo-and-paper lanterns were used with candles inside. A blind man, visiting a friend one night, was offered a lantern to carry home with him.

"I do not need a lantern," he said. "Darkness or light is all the same to me."

"I know you do not need a lantern to find your way," his friend replied, "but if you don't have one, someone else may run into you. So you must take it."

The blind man started off with the lantern and before he had walked very far someone ran squarely into him.

"Look out where you are going!" he exclaimed to the stranger. "Can't you see this lantern?"

"Your candle has burned out, brother," replied the stranger.

Lebowski... (2)

bdabautcb (1040566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39678205)

...and after the cops rubbed her pages with a pencil, they discovered 26 pages of men with large erections.

Best use of police time - ever (1)

mpbrede (820514) | more than 2 years ago | (#39679127)

well done to the bobbies in blue. :)

Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39681281)

So, the tax payers' money was used to help an author profit from her work? Time to cut their budget; they obviously don't need it.

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